Keller Williams often performs as a one-man jam band, looping multiple instrumental segments during live performances.
But when the songwriter plays F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts this weekend, he’ll sing a different tune.
“I’m very proud and so excited to say Danton Boller will be joining me in Wilkes-Barre,” Williams said. “We’ll be playing acoustic, and I am so excited to go so many different places in the acoustic realm. The upright bass is a whole different beast; it is really difficult to make that thing sing the way it needs to be sung. Danton Boller is a master at this instrument.”
The Friday, Dec. 8, concert starts at 9 p.m. as part of the Kirby Center’s “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” series. Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show, plus fees.
Williams began performing in the early 1990s as a solo artist in restaurants and bars. When he realized many people weren’t paying attention to the single guy in the corner of the room, the idea of looping various instruments struck him.
“I wanted something more organic, so I create the samples on the fly in front of the audience,” he explained. “That lead to more exposure and to playing solo around the country, which also lead to me being able to afford humans for projects. And I guess that’s where we are now — doing projects and solo work, with a little more focus on solo these days. I’ve done so many projects that the solo act gets left behind.”
While Wilkes-Barre will see the Keller Williams Duo this weekend, Williams’ other projects include KWahtro, Keller Williams Trio, More Than a Little, Grateful Grass, Keller & the Keels and Grateful Gospel, among others.
On top of creating music and touring with these projects, Williams has released over 20 albums, all with one-syllable titles. One of his most recent albums, “Raw,” is more representative of his upcoming show as an entirely solo, acoustic record.
“The ‘Raw’ album started in 2011 as a concept record of 12 songs on 12 different guitars,” Williams said. “I didn’t like it. I scrapped it. I found myself on a co-bill with Leo Kottke, one of my mentors and heroes, and it was going to be in nice theaters and performing arts centers. I didn’t have anything to represent that solo, acoustic music, so I pulled four of my favorite tracks off that, recorded six different ones and, voila — we have a record done in three days.”
As a musician, Williams views his entire career as a success without much to complain about.
“I wish I had known that I was going to do one-syllable titles to have the foresight to maybe make some really interesting run-on sentences with these words,” Williams joked. “But seriously, I followed my dreams, and I got really lucky. I don’t really have a lot of regrets.”
More than anything, Williams expressed how much his fans enabled him to follow each of his projects and goals without worrying about losing their interest. As a genre-hopping artist, Williams continues to change his style and create new projects while still keeping an ever-growing fan base. He is finishing his first instrumental album, which he filled with songs he played over the years that never had drum or bass lines, Williams said.
“To folks that are listening, they’ll be recognizable, but with a new twist,” he said. “I think they’ll dig it.”
If you go
What: The Keller Williams Duo
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
When: Friday, Dec. 8, 9 p.m.; doors open at 7:30
Details: Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show, plus fees, and can be purchased at the Kirby Center box office, by calling 570-826-1100 or online at kirbycenter.org.